AAPSS, News|

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on educational opportunity gaps, one of the lingering consequences of increasing economic inequality over the past several decades. The struggle to migrate quickly to online instruction after a disrupted school year has only worsened the disparities, as wide variation in the quality and modes of digital instruction find some children benefiting from advanced virtual pedagogy while others suffer considerable setbacks due to both the pace and the content of instruction.

Though school systems across the country have shown great resilience as they grapple with uncertainties and the challenges of considering whether and how to reopen in the Fall, the issues they face are daunting. How they will manage risk and ensure a safe learning environment? How will they cope with losses in learning experienced by children during the closure and migration to online options? Will they find ways to balance short-term recovery with potentially long-term structural and substantive changes to teaching and learning?

To consider these issues, the AAPSS partnered with the School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University to bring together researchers with expertise in educational inequality and digital learning, and policy makers and educators in charge of schools and school systems. In a moderated research and practice seminar entitled “Inequality and Digital Learning in the COVID Era,” held on July 29, 2020, the discussants addressed critical questions that should be priorities for the research community as practitioners seek evidence and advice, and considered what guidance extant research offers on mitigation of learning loss and the role of technology in schooling.

The featured discussants for the online seminar were Carl Cohn, Claremont Graduate University; Michael Feuer, George Washington University; Rebecca Maynard, University of Pennsylvania; Natalie Milman, George Washington University; and Hirokazu Yoshikawa, New York University. The seminar and the question-and-answer session that followed can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube.

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